Dreading Tomorrow – A Ski Virgin’s Report

Yoda was right: “Too
old to begin the training.”
I should have listened…
There are some blog postings that are quick to write – seem to come out and need very little editing. Others take more time as I hem and haw about sentences for what seems like hours. Today had better be a quickie, because in about 27 minutes muscles critical to my mobility are going to seize up and render me unable to move, and I really would rather be in front of the fire or watching TV than here in the office.

Why, pray tell? Because today was my first time ever on skis. And I feel fairly comfortable declaring that it may very well be my last.

It started as a good idea, really. The kids had a 4 day weekend and I thought that it would be fun if we all went to Perfect North, the ski establishment about 45 minutes away, to learn how to ski. I was thinking that skiing is a useful skill – opens up lots of vacation options – and kids who learn it early seem to get it and use it their whole lives. And why not try it myself, huh?  Seems reasonable, right?

I am insane.

First, for the uninitiated and ill-equipped, you require a lot of crap to ski. Boots, skis, poles, helmet, plus ski bibs, gloves, hats, sunscreen, layers of clothing, etc.  Boots seem a simple thing, but they aren’t. They have 4 buckles, did you know that? And you know what else is important? To put your ski bibs on BEFORE you put on your rental boots. And wait, before you get too much further, you have to go to the bathroom just in case. And then you come back and get the boots back on. But wait, be sure you have the bibs on.

Then you try to walk in the boots. I felt like an astronaut on the surface of the moon. I was walking in extreme slow motion, with my knees bent because locomotion wasn’t possible otherwise. I watched in awe as others moved quickly around, while I seemed unable to keep pace with a nursing home resident. This was the first sign.

Getting the skis wasn’t too bad, nor the poles, or helmet, except that these were located in 3 different places. Although the route there was more or less linear, it required more moon walking, which was inexplicably getting harder, not easier. Regardless, we continued forward.

Did I mention there were 4 of us? Because there is something exponential about the work required to outfit 4 people for skiing. The first one isn’t too bad, but the next one takes twice as long as the first… by the fourth person, you are quite sure you’ve entered some bizzaro parallel universe where you are much hated.

Then we left the building. Let me summarize what happened from here.

  •  Tried to find a place to put all our “stuff”, which seemed to multiply since we left the car. In the end, left it all under the stairs and hoped for the best.
  • Found the ski instruction area.
  • I returned to the rental place because my boots were killing me. No really, they were killing me. Got a larger size.
  • Waited 20 minutes for ski instruction. For the kids, this was the equivalent of 4 hours and 52 minutes.  I searched repeatedly for a brick to knock myself out with. Unsuccessful.
  • Sent the kids off for private instruction.
  • Frank and I met, with Harv, our group ski instructor. At the time, he seemed to be a nice, a 60-year-old man.
  • I strapped on my skis.
  • The longest 45 minutes of my life began.

In the end, I refused to do the final bunny hill trial for the class (“I am a danger to myself and others,” I told Harv), sat on the ground (the larger size ski boot having not at all helped since I have the world’s widest feet) and seriously pondered whether I should walk in my socks across the snow to the rental area instead of wearing the boots.

The kids didn’t fare much better. When we located them, they, too, were sitting on the ground. My girl was in tears, her boots also rendering her immobile because they were now too small (“I think I broke my toe… it bends backwards now, see”) and my son was bleeding and also a little tearful – “cut his hand on the snow when he fell” is what the instructor said (say what? Cut his hand on the snow??).  She looked exceptionally uncomfortable and quite eager to deposit the kids with us.

What followed then was even more pain: the second longest 15 minutes of my life, as we made our way back to the rental place to undo everything we did 90 minutes earlier. The kids were insanely miserable. I wasn’t much better.

At last, it was lunchtime. Ahh. Food, water, dry places to sit, no more boots.  I could hear angels singing over the din.

And you know what happened next? We had a ball. Did I mention that Perfect North also has a tubing area that was a-freakin-amazing? Great fun! Spent two more hours there enjoying their runs and it saved the whole trip. Kids left happy, we left happy.  The disastrous ski elements long forgotten*.

In the end, we spent an insane amount of money (especially if you do the cost per hour…) to learn that we are not ski people but tubing people.  I’m really ok with this. I can now say that I have skied. No one needs to know that I never left the instruction area/baby bunny hill. No one needs to know that Harv thinks my IQ is in the double digits.

*Post script: The ski trip really isn’t long forgotten. Frank and I can’t move. For our mere 45 minutes on skis, we both have managed to hurt muscles we didn’t know we had. I’ve walked a half marathon before and hurt less than I do now.  God help us tomorrow morning…

%d bloggers like this: